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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 23, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Villeneuve: Why complain about Verstappen being so dominant?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing prepares to drive in the garage during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 23, 2024 in Melbourne, Villeneuve: Why complain about Verstappen being so dominant? . (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Jacques Villeneuve believes Formula 1 followers, himself included, have double standards when moaning about Max Verstappen’s dominance with Red Bull, the 1997 World Champion also expressing great admiration for how the Dutchman goes about his business at the very top of the sport.

Verstappen has been virtually unbeatable since he claimed his first F1 crown under controversial circumstances in 2021. Since then he is powering to all-time greatness with a couple more world titles in the bag, a fourth almost a certainty this season.

Throw into that 36 Grand Prix victories added to his CV since the start of 2022, and most –  some sectors of the media, F1 fans all over the reputable forums are decrying the boredom of Verstappen’s rule as the King of F1. As if it is some kind of novelty.

Conveniently, forgetting the tedium of Lewis Hamilton’s dominance with Mercedes; ditto Sebastian Vettel before that at Red Bull, Michael Schumacher at Ferrari; Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost at McLaren.

Speaking to the media team at OLBG, Villeneuve tucked into the subject in typical JV-style: “We all admired Senna, Prost and Michael. They were winning just like Max is now. Everyone admired Lewis for so many years and how he was winning. The same as Max if not more regularly. He was lapping the whole field at times in his Mercedes. No one complained about that.”

JV: We don’t know the real Max as a person

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 01: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing talks with Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third placed qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 01, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“So why are we complaining about Max being so dominant?” questioned Villeneuve, before continuing: “Is it because he is a tough guy that we can complain about him knowing he can take it? I think that is it. He is not trying to be nice, he is not trying to be friendly. He is just being him.

“That makes it easy for people to bash him. If he was a whiner and a fake trying to love everyone no one would complain. He was raised without a choice to be tough. As a racer, it has paid off. That is all we can comment on. Because we don’t know the real Max as a person and what he is like behind closed doors.

“It is good for him. But F1 is the most high-profile sport in the world right now. It is a theatre. You are almost not allowed to have a private life. Unless your private life is part of everyone’s he will keep being bashed. It doesn’t bother him. That is what is amazing. He is there to race, and he keeps winning.

“It is easy not to be bothered by things when you are winning. He is doing great, but he is not doing anything to be liked. He doesn’t even care. He just wants to race and I admire that. He is not fake in any way. Whether people like that or not that is the case.

“I really respect that. He is a straight shooter. There are no grey areas,” observed Jacques who had he known his own father – F1 legend Gilles Villeneuve – would’ve recognised many similar traits in common with this generation’s great, Max Verstappen.

This weekend at the Japanese Grand Pix, the Red Bull #1 driver is aiming to win his 36th F1 pole position, a 57th GP win on the occasion of his 189th Grand Prix start.